Big Plans from the Housing Secretary

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I have written before about the regular replacement there seems to have been over the last few years in the posts of Housing Secretary and Housing Ministers. Each of them has come in with fine words and big plans, only to be replaced before any of these plans seem to have been put in place.

James Brokenshire, the current Housing Secretary, seems determined to ensure that he will see some changes carried through. Reading between the lines he seeks to help the private tenant, living in poor conditions and for homeowners who have had disputes with builders.

Brave words from the Housing Secretary, but sadly, heard before. I will argue any day of the week that the landlords I know and have worked with need no actions to force them to deal with property issues – because that is what they do – deal with them. They want long-standing and satisfied tenants and properties in as good a condition as possible. 

Do I believe that those that don’t treat their tenants and properties with respect should pay a penalty? Yes I do, but will the Housing Secretary’s plans reward the good and punish the bad? I don’t think they will.

All private landlords in England will need to join a ‘Housing Redress Scheme’ with fines of up to £5,000 if they refuse to do so. So a cost to good as well as bad, landlords. The Housing Complaints Resolution Service will give tenants and home-owners a simple means of unresolved issues being settled; claiming compensation from landlords or builders should be more straightforward.

I cannot speak about compensation claims against builders; my experience is gained from watching television programmes about cowboy builders; sometimes, the homeowner is unfortunate and is unable to receive any compensation. Others manage it by doing all the common-sense things – by getting several quotes, asking pertinent questions and not accepting that the cheapest quote is always the best and by pursuing it as far as they are able, not allowing themselves to be discouraged and feeling it is not worth the considerable effort involved. 

Maybe this new scheme will make things easier, though how they intend to do this has still not been disclosed – private landlords will have to join a re-dress scheme – what about builders?

Back to the private landlord. Why should a landlord who has never had any disagreement with their tenant, who has done all the work as requested, be expected to pay for the privilege of joining the re-dress scheme? Someone will have to pay, and it would not be a surprise to anyone, if that person is the private landlord.

Will payment into a redress scheme mean that complaints made by tenants from malice, condition of property entirely down to the actions of the tenant, or his children, or guests, will be properly investigated and blame apportioned where it should be? I have not yet read anything that indicates how this service will be set-up, how much extra-funding will be made available to establish a scheme or how it will be policed, to ensure that 100% of landlords join a scheme.

The latest Housing Secretary, Mr Brokenshire, may want to get his fingers in the pie, but he needs to be careful he doesn’t get burned.

For advice on buy to let issues – Ask Sharon

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